Prep Baseball Report

Hardy's Hits: CIF SS Coverage from 2/23/24 & 2/24/24

Steven Hardesty
Central Coast/North LA Area Scout


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Ventura, Calif- 

With the wild weather that has wreaked havoc on Southern California the CIF-Southern Section baseball schedule is starting to round into a consistent flow. For the third week of the spring my live looks took me to a pair of Non-League matchups. On Friday I got my first look at the Moorpark Musketeers from the Coastal Canyon league as they matched up against the Valencia Vikings from the Foothill League. While on Saturday I had an opportunity to check in on an intriguing ‘25 RHP out of Vasquez High School in the Heritage League as they faced off with Golden Valley from the Foothill League.

Valencia jumped out to an early lead on the Musketeers highlighted by a first inning home run before adding a pair of runs over the next few innings to extend their lead to 3-0. The Musketeers finally broke through in the bottom of the 6th inning as they would plate 7 runs in the inning to pick up a 7-3 win. The day produced good looks at a trio of ‘25/’26 MIF prospects who stood out, solid showings from a pair of commits; one from Moorpark and one from Valencia. With three uncommitted Valencia Vikings continuing to impress me with each additional look I get at them and a good LH hitting OF from Moorpark to keep eyes.

Golden Valley was able to plate 2 runs early in the game against Vasquez with an early 2K single from an intriguing uncommitted ‘25 SS who would come around to score with the Grizzlies adding one more run. The 2 runs would be all the Grizzlies would need as their starter went the distance for a CG shutout, but the Grizzlies would add a few late runs to earn a 5-0 victory and run their early record to 4-1 on the spring. I got a good look at a very interesting ‘25 RHP committed to Loyola Marymount University while coming away intrigued by a pair of ‘25 uncommitted Shortstops.

Below you can check out my breakdown of the standouts of the day with video highlights, access to their PBR profile and a scouting report on them.

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+ ‘25 SS Taylor Busch (Uncommitted) Busch is a leaner framed SS who I came away impressed with his actions on the INF dirt. He took a good INF/OF where he showed consistent rhythm to his feet and good hands, the arm is below average currently for SS, but with time to add arm strength as he matures. The tools translate in game where he shows steady and consistent actions. His swing is compact while showing good bat to ball with a gap to gap approach. The path is flatter and plays more to low line drives with some LVG to the pull side where his power will play as doubles presently. It will profile as a high contact offensive profile unless he adds strength to the frame. A solid MIF prospect who can add depth to a lineup Busch is one to keep eyes on as he continues to mature and develop strength physically.

+ ‘26 MIF AJ Mai (Uncommitted) Mai is a very interesting profile who I saw play as a freshmen for the Musketeers on the varsity level. His actions defensively are impressive with good feet, lateral range, ability to play downhill with really good hands. The arm plays better at 2B presently, but there is time for him to continue to add arm strength to handle SS in the future where his athleticism/actions would fit defensively. Where I came away most impressed with Mai’s development was the strength he has added to his frame and the improvements at the plate from last year to now. He shows solid bat speed with more to come as he develops, LVG in his bat path to drive the ball through the middle of the field. He is aggressive at the plate and looks for pitches to hit which did cause some chase in the game. The tools are there for him offensively and he continues to polish his approach and offensive profile. He looks the part of a very good middle of the diamond defender who has top of the order offensive potential and at worst would add length to a lineup going forward.

+ ‘25 OF Connor Tutino (Uncommitted) It was a quick look at Tutino who shows good athletic ability moving around well in the OF with the arm strength to play CF/LF in the future, but would need to add more to handle the RF position. He has a lean frame with good body control and if he can add strength to the frame over the next 12-18 months before heading off to college his LH bat could be a good addition to a lineup. He runs well and showed a compact direct swing with and inside/out approach which would play to a high contact profile with ability to pick up extra base hits through the middle of the field. The tools are solid with Tutino, but the big step will be adding strength to his frame. Interesting ‘25 LH bat to keep eyes on going forward.

+ ‘25 RHP/OF Derek Nickels (Uncommitted) Nickels came in relief after starting the game at the DH spot and closed out the win for the Musketeers. It’s an interesting arm with strength although there is some effort to the operation that will likely keep him as a reliever both in the short term and the long term future. The FB comes out the hand with some life to it and sits consistently in the 84-85 MPH range presently with it touching 86/87 at times. Paired with an interesting 70-72 MPH CB which showed some tightness/power to the break when he threw it down in the zone. Will need to improve his consistency with the pitch. It’s an interesting profile for Nickels as a future leverage reliever who should continue to add velocity/life to his 2-pitch arsenal as he matures. 

+ ‘24 OF Jacob Shannon-Wilkerson (Lewis & Clark Commit) Shannon-Wilkerson first came on my radar in the fall of ‘22 and I saw him last spring in a game. Their is athletic ability with good feel for what he does at the plate while being a solid defensive CF who could profile to be an impact defender with his athleticism and good routes to the ball in the air. He has shown pull side power, but stays up the middle to backside of the field with his approach that should show high contact ability with doubles power through the gaps and he can pick his times to look to turn on the ball and elevate where he can run a ball out to the pull side. A good land for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers as he should add a high quality defensive profile with offensive upside to their program.


+ ‘26 LHP/1B Justin Gaisford (Uncommitted) I’ve seen Gaisford pitch on two separate occasions, but this was my first extended look at him at the plate and I came away very impressed with his LH swing. He shows a quick compact stroke with good balance in his lower ½ while being in rhythm with his timing. The path has some leverage to it as he showed the ability to drive the baseball through the middle of the field and to the pull side. Gaisford is a solid defender at 1B who moved well with good hands on balls hit to him while showing feel for his footwork around the bag. Gaisford baseball toolset both as a pitcher and a hitter/infielder are very strong and show good potential. The ceiling for where Gaisford winds up collegiately will ultimately be determined by how he continues to develop physically/athletically, but undoubtedly his baseball skills will make him a good addition to a college program.

+ ‘25 MIF Lincoln Hunt (Uncommitted) This was my first real look at Hunt in game action as he started and played 2B where he looked solid defensively with solid footwork, his hands work and the arm will play at 2B and could potentially handle a move to 3B. Where he stood out on the day was at the plate where he took 3 quality at bats in game. He uses a leg kick with an interesting hand load, but he showed a feel for getting to the launch position on time. The swing itself is quick with a gap to gap approach and a flatter path which allowed him to get the barrel on the baseball multiple times. Presently, the profile looks more hit than power with the ability to work the middle of the field for line drives and doubles power. But, with time to continue adding strength to his frame and polishing his approach there is potential for him to add HR power to the pull side and profile as potential offensive 3B/2B in the future.

+ ‘24 INF/RHP Chad Stanchfield (Uncommitted) My first look at Stanchfield came with him on the mound where he has an intriguing 83-86 MPH FB with a solid breaking ball and looks the part of a bullpen piece at the next level. This was my first time getting an extended look at him as a position player where there is a toolset that profiles at the college level. His swing is whippy with good hand use and he showed his power potential by launching an early HR to the pull side that easily cleared the fence. The actions at 3B are solid with good reactions, solid hands and the arm strength to handle the spot long term. His approach is aggressive at the plate and did chase at times, but it’s an overall very intriguing profile from Stanchfield. He is the kind of player I would love to see go to a JUCO program where he would have the chance to polish himself as a either a pitcher or a hitter while continuing to build physical strength on his frame before transferring to a 4-year college.

+ ‘24 RHP Owen Brunsmann (Uncommitted) Brunsman is a smaller statured RHP who shows a good feel for what he does on the mound. While his stuff doesn’t blow hitters away his feel for mixing pitches, control of his FB, ability to work with tempo kept hitters off balance and generated GB contact consistently. Brunsman mixed a 80-82 MPH FB which touches 83 with a soft 69-71 MPH CB which he keeps down and gets under hitters barrels for soft contact while showing good feel for his 74-75 MPH CHG. The feel for pitching and control of the zone is there with Brunsmann, but he would benefit from going to a JUCO program where he can add strength to his and life to his pitch mix. He has a chance to be a starter at the next level, but will need to improve the life on his stuff to go with his present feel for pitching. 

+ ‘24 C Aiden Voyles (Westmont Commit) Voyles just recently committed to the 2023 NAIA National Champion Westmont program as they are in their first year at the D2 level. I’ve had several looks at Voyles over the past 12 months and in each one he has shown solid ability in game both offensive and defensively. He did more of the same on this day where took multiple good at bats including finding the barrel on multiple swings which has been a constant for me when seeing Voyles is the accuracy of his barrel. While showing solid receiving/blocking ability and good throws to 2B. There is polish that can still be done on his overall package, but Voyles will be a good addition to the Warrior program where he can impact the program in the batter's box and behind the plate.


+ ‘25 RHP Max Schneider (LMU Commit) Schneider is a very intriguing arm coming out of the high desert area in Southern California. I’ve seen plenty of videos on him on social media and had good recommendations on him from people, but getting to see him in person left me very impressed. Right now the raw arm talent/stuff and potential are more apparent with plenty of polish still left for the overall package. It's enticing to think what he could be in 6-12 months down the road. The present package is a 6’6 205 lbs frame with room to add strength in his lower and upper body. A delivery which moves down the mound well for his size and a relatively fast arm with some looseness to the action. He does spin off to the 1st base side at times and can rush down the mound, but each of these are aspects that can be cleaned up as he continues to develop. His FB sat at 90-94 the majority of the outing while touching 95 on several occasions and hitting 96 twice while showing riding life through the zone. The CB worked at 77-80 MPH while flashing a tight break with power at times when he executed it down in the zone. It will get loopy at times and stay up. As noted previously it’s a high ceiling for Schneider on the mound, but to reach that ceiling he will need to show better control of the strike zone while he didn’t spray the ball around (a few bad misses) he missed close to the strike zone consistently showing the potential to continue developing his control of a strong two pitch mix and eventually adding a CHG or third pitch to remain as a starter profile. WIth plenty of time to continue to develop, the potential for Schneider is very high and I expect to see him only continue to get better as he finishes his JR campaign, through the summer and into his SR year.

+ ‘25 SS Brandon Vazquez (Uncommitted) In a first look at Brandon Vazquez he caught my eye during INF/OF showing solid actions moving around the dirt with good fundamental technique to his footwork/hands and flashing range laterally/downhill. The defensive skills showed in game as he played a consistent SS, while he will need to add more arm strength/athleticism to stick at SS long term he has the ability to play 2B/3B at a solid level. Hitting in the 3 hole he put together multiple good at bats while collecting 2 hard barrels including a single and a hard line drive out to CF (wind was blowing straight in likely stealing a potential double). It’s a compact swing with some leverage to the bat path and balance in his lower half. Stayed within the strike zone on his swing decisions and stayed to an up the middle approach. Profiles as a high contact offensive performer who can drive extra base hits through the middle of the field. Good INF defender with ability to add depth to a line up in the ‘25 class.

Golden Valley:

+ ‘25 SS Skyler Sears (Uncommitted) Sears was another who caught my eye during INF/OF showing good defensive actions with his feet/hands and a fringe average accurate arm at SS (will need to tick up to stick there/same with athleticism). He played solid defense in the game, but where he stood out for me was in the batter's box. With a crouched wider stance and short stride Sears was able to be on time against good velocity to shoot a single to RF on a 92 MPH outside FB early in the game, then in his 2nd turn against Schneider battled back from an 0-2 count spoiling some good FB/CB’s to draw a walk before collecting a single to RCF in his last at bat. There is good bat to ball skills with an up the middle approach while showing good feel for staying within the strike zone on his swing decisions. Athletically he might be stretched to stay at SS long term, but he can handle a slide to 2B/3B where he should have some impact offensively while playing solid defense. Good ‘25 to follow and see how continues to develop and improve on a strong current skill set.

Names To Know:

In a one day look not all highlights are caught or players won’t always have their best results. With that in mind there were several other players who showed interesting tools/potential or futures. The names below are ones to keep an eye on going into the spring and going forward. Each player below is uncommitted for college coaches to put on their board for potential needs in the ‘24 or ‘25 class.


+ ‘25 LHP/OF Carson Cerny (Uncommitted)

+ ‘24 C Robbie Perez (Uncommitted)


+ ‘25 OF/RHP Noah Jaquez (Uncommitted)

+ ‘24 LHP Dylan Summers (Uncommitted)

Golden Valley:

+ ‘24 OF Bryce Gales (Uncommitted)


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